Tajikistan: Chinese workers at metals plant stage protest in demand to be allowed to travel home
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Author: Yau Tsz Yan, Eurasianet (USA)
Chinese business briefing: Working overtime, 4 June 2020
Many Chinese workers have been stuck in Central Asia during the coronavirus lockdown, forced to work overtime to meet production quotas.
As a source of raw metals, Tajikistan has become a destination for thousands of low-skill Chinese laborers. How Beijing regards these workers has charged into view during the coronavirus pandemic. Spoiler alert: They are not a priority.
Chinese workers at a mine in northern Tajikistan had been demanding passage home for weeks before learning that a Chinese national in the country had contracted COVID-19. Rumors then spread that two had died. On May 20, around 100 of the miners rioted, reportedly fearful they would not receive adequate treatment in Tajikistan if they, too, were infected. Authorities suppressed them with force. Many Chinese workers are stranded.
Author: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Czechia)
Tajik Police Use Firearms To Disperse Rare Protest By Chinese Workers, 22 May 2020
Tajik police have used firearms to break up a rare protest by Chinese workers employed by the Tajik-Chinese Mining Company in the northern region of Sughd.
Interior Ministry officials told RFE/RL on May 21 that some 60 Chinese workers had protested in the town of Zarnisor a day earlier.
A spokesman for the Sughd regional police department told RFE/RL that local police shot live rounds into the air to disperse the protesters after it boiled over. No gunshot wounds or injuries were reported.
The mining company's administration says police were called after the protesting Chinese workers refused to stop the rally.
The workers' demands remain unclear, as it is not possible to access them.
“Tajikistan sees unusual protests, authorities react with force”, 21 May 2020
In an unusual development for Tajikistan, there have been two episodes of mass unrest… Both were suppressed by force.
Prague-based Akhbor news website reported that a crowd of Chinese nationals working at a metals plant in the north of the country staged an impromptu demonstration… in a demand to be allowed to travel home. Riot police dispatched to the scene, in the town of Taboshar… dispersed the crowd of around 100 people by firing gunshots into the air.
Travel between China and Tajikistan has been suspended since January, as soon as the potential danger of the coronavirus threat became evident. That has left a large number of now-jobless Chinese laborers stranded. According to official data, around 7,000 Chinese nationals live and work in Tajikistan.
Akhbor cited its unnamed sources as saying at least two workers at the Taboshar are suspected to have died with an illness bearing hallmarks of COVID-19. Workers have previously held unruly negotiations with management demanding to be given passage to their home country, but without any breakthroughs, Akhbor claimed. Frustrations culminated… with staff attacking the premises of their company, smashing windows and damaging cars…
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總部位於布拉格的阿克博爾（ Akhbor ）新聞網站報導說，一群在塔吉克斯坦北部一家金屬廠工作的中國人自發組織了一場抗議活動……要求獲准回國。防暴警察被派往現場，在塔博沙爾鎮（ Taboshar ）……向空中開槍驅散了大約100人。